Senator Lamar Alexander (R–TN) is expected to become head of the health, education, and labor panel, which oversees biomedical research.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R–TN) is expected to become head of the health, education, and labor panel, which oversees biomedical research.

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U.S. Senate science panels will have new leadership in wake of Republican takeover

The new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate will mean new chairs of all committees. Although the choices won’t become official until January, here are likely changes atop key committees that affect the U.S. research committee:

Appropriations: Senator Thad Cochran (R–MS) would replace Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) as chair of the full committee. Either he or Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is likely to take over the subcommittee that oversees the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Senator Jerry Moran (R–KS) would take over from retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA) as chair of the subcommittee that funds the National Institutes of Health.

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: Senator Lamar Alexander (R–TN) would succeed Harkin as chair of this panel, which oversees federal education and biomedical research policy.

Commerce, Science, and Transportation: Senator John Thune (R–SD) would take the reins from retiring Senator Jay Rockefeller (D–WV) on a panel that most closely follows nonmedical civilian science policy.

Environment and Public Works: Senator James Inhofe (R–OK) would replace Senator Barbara Boxer (D–CA) on the committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency and its wide range of air and water regulations. Inhofe has been a vociferous critic of the agency and previously chaired the panel from 2003 to 2008.

Energy and Natural Resources: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R–AK) would take the gavel from Senator Mary Landrieu (D–LA) on a panel that oversees public lands and a large chunk of energy development policies. Landrieu could have been knocked off her perch even without the Republican tidal wave: She faces a 6 December runoff against Republican Representative Bill Cassidy in an attempt to retain her seat.

Correction, November 5, 2014, 3:21pm: This version clarifies the most likely candidates to chair the Approrprations committees.

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